Starring Warren Christie and Ryan Robbins
Directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego
Just because it’s the holidays it doesn’t mean that the film system isn’t cranking out movies for us to watch. The last Tuesday of the year did produce some new releases on DVD & Blu-Ray that hit the shelves of local video stores across the city of Toronto. Out this week from our friends at Alliance Films is the latest in the ‘found footage’ horror craze. Get ready for “Apollo 18”.
“Apollo 18” is the story of a secret mission to the moon. Officially, Apollo 17, launched December 17th, 1972 was the last manned mission to the moon. But two years later, in December of 1974, two American astronauts were sent on a secret mission to the moon funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. What you are about to see is the actual footage which the astronauts captured on that mission. While NASA denies its authenticity, others say it’s the real reason we’ve never gone back to the moon.
“Apollo 18” will be remembered as yet another story of concept vs. execution, where an excellent idea suffers due to the prevailing genre styles of filmmaking at the time. Despite being popular right now, the found footage/documentary style of horror filmmaking actually detracts from the story that didn’t need that gimmick in order to make it effective. It is understandably used to keep costs down on a film production, but the general story and even the script were reasonably strong enough to stand on their own. For his first English language venture, director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego seemed a little out of his element and probably would have benefited from a more fictionalized narrative in order to tell this story, which quite honestly could have been a pretty good one.
The small cast did feature some moderately recognizable faces; including Ryan Robbins from the TV shows Sanctuary and the short lived Caprica as well as Lloyd Owen from a variety of British TV shows. Everybody acquitted themselves reasonably well with the material, and could have gained a modicum of notoriety from this film had the execution been better.
Ultimately a very interesting idea for a film which was no doubt part of the reason that Timur Bekmambetov and the Weinstein brothers served as producers on the film, however “Apollo 18” suffers from some poor execution cinematically and it just doesn’t work. I for one would have been terribly interested to see this concept in the hands of Bekmambetov himself or another director with some more experience under their belt.
2 out of 5 stars.
“Apollo 18” is available at video stores across Toronto; click here for a list of some of the finer ones near you.
Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter as the Pop Culture Poet for all the latest and greatest news and reviews from the world of entertainment.